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When warning people about tsunami risk, officials in one Japanese town have adopted the "show, don't tell" approach.

Scary tsunami simulation preps town for potential quake


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, April 10, 2016, 4:40 PM - When warning people about tsunami risk, officials in one Japanese town have adopted the "show, don't tell" approach.

The video above includes snippets from an earthquake preparedness video put together by the town of Kamakura, in south-central Japan near Tokyo. It starts off with real footage of the tsunami that struck Tohoku in 2011, but then moves on to feature the computer-rendered impact of a tsunami striking Kamakura.

You can find that footage at various points of the video below, and although no reasonable person would mistake the render for a real tsunami, it's an excellent way to highlight how a similar wave would damage the town:

The Kamakura authorities seem to have calculated the effects of a quake and tsunami coming from two known nearby faults. One, far offshore, could produce an earthquake as powerful as Magnitude 8.5, generating a 12.9-metre tsunami that would produce extensive flooding once it reached the centre of the city.

The video goes over emergency shelters and evacuation procedures, with the certainty of a country famously prone to earthquakes.

The 2011 Tohoku quake, for example, registered Magnitude 9.0, an astonishingly powerful tremor whose tsunami killed more than 16,000 people. Further back, the 1923 Kanto earthquake, not far from Tokyo, devastated the city and killed more than 100,000 people.

In Kamakura itself, a tremor in 1293 killed more than 23,000 people, and may have been as strong as Magnitude 7.1, according to NOAA.

WATCH: The five most damaging quakes of the past century


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Canada has its own earthquake-prone zones, particularly off the coast of British Columbia, where the Juan de Fuca plate is slowly being subducted beneath the North American plate.

Geologists say the plate has become "stuck", with pressure slowly building up. When it finally releases, it will generate a "megathrust" earthquake of staggering power. In the year 1700, a similar quake was rated Magnitude 9.0 and generated a tsunami that reached as far as Japan, and devastated the Pacific Northwest.

City planners in B.C. are well aware of the possibility of a future quake of similar power in the area, and regularly run residents through earthquake drills.

SOURCES: NOAA | City of Vancouver

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